In March 2017 within the XIV International Baltic Jewellery Show "Amber Trip 2017" representatives of Public Service of Geology and Mineral Resources of Ukraine and Ukrainian amber mining companies, with support of "Amber Trip 2017" organisers, held the enterprises’ presentation for the first time. They invited interested investors to cooperate, discussed the prospects for amber industry development in Ukraine and creation of the permanent exchange of the Ukrainian amber.
According to the legislation of Ukraine geological studying and amber mining should be carried out only with special permission for the use of natural resources. The database of special permissions to use natural resources is available free of charge on the website of the State scientific and manufacturing enterprise "State Information Geological Fund of Ukraine" (SIGF "Geoinform of Ukraine"). SIGF "Geoinform of Ukraine" is a research and manufacturing organization, which collects, stores, analyses and provides information that was obtained in the course of geological studying and use of natural resources for public use.
It should be noted that Ukraine took significant steps towards disclosure of information in mining sector of economy. So, in 2015 on the website of SIGF "Geoinform of Ukraine" a number of online services were created, in particular: the electronic database of special permissions to use natural resources, the interactive map of mineral deposits of Ukraine and the interactive map of subsoil plots with granted special permissions to use natural resources.
The electronic database of special permissions to use natural resources allows filtering results by various criteria: license type and number, minerals type, territory, the EGRPOU code of the owner company, license issue and expiry year; it also allows filtering results by valid, expired or suspended special permissions. Besides, there is an opportunity to study the full text of a special permission, where granting conditions and other details are specified.
Information on granting conditions of special permissions to use natural resources can be accessed on the website "Geoinform of Ukraine", available at http://geoinf.kiev.ua/nadannya-spetsdozvoliv. The database of special permissions to use natural resources, including amber mining, can be accessed at http://geoinf.kiev.ua/specdozvoli. The “Interactive map of subsoil plots with granted special permissions to use natural resources” is available at http://geoinf.kiev.ua/wp/interaktyvni-karty-spetsdozvoliv.htm.
According to data of SIGF “Geoinform Ukraine”, special permissions to use natural resources for geological studying and amber mining have been granted to 9 companies:
In the Rivne region – state enterprise "Burshtyn of Ukraine", LLC «Sun-Craft Centre», LLC “RED.MET”, state enterprise "Ukrburshtyn", LLC “Inklyuz-8”,
In the Zhytomyr region these are LLC “Nadra Galichiny Company”, LLC “Amber Holding”, LLC “Right Solution”,
In the Volynsk region these are the municipal enterprise "Volinprirodresurs" of the Volynsk Regional Council.
In 2016 industrial amber mining was carried out in “Klesovskoye” (state enterprise "Burshtyn of Ukraine") and “Volodymyrets-Skhidnyi” deposits (LLC «Sun-Craft Centre»). In 2016 companies engaged in legal mining extracted about 4500 kg of amber.
In 2017 an exploratory development within geological studying on the site “Oleksiivka” of Klesivsky district began, it has been carried out by the state enterprise "Ukrburshtyn" (photo 1). Information on geological works on other new sites is currently not at the author’s disposal.
The problem of illegal amber mining in Ukraine is still extremely urgent. The last attempt to adopt laws on legalisation of amber mining was made in February of 2017 when bills No. 1351-1 "On mining and legalisation of amber" and No. 3035 "On prospecting activities" were put on the agenda of a plenary session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
Rada rejected the bill No. 1351-1 "On mining and legalisation of amber" and didn't even consider the bill No. 3035; thereby the question of legalisation of amber mining and trade remains opened so far.
Despite the ban, illegal amber miners continue to extract amber, and, in a meanwhile, authorities in the Rivne, Zhytomyr, Volynsk regions and in Kiev try to solve the problem of catastrophic ecological consequences of illegal mining (photo 2).
An important step towards the legislative solution of environmental problems has been adoption of the resolution No. 1063 of 11/30/2016 "Some questions of implementation of the pilot project on re-cultivation of the lands of forest fund damaged as a result of illegal amber mining" by the government. Implementation of this project will promote re-cultivation of the lands of forest fund damaged because of illegal amber mining in the Volynsk, Rivne and Zhytomyr regions. Besides recovery of lands, the project will promote the termination of repeated illegal amber mining on re-cultivated forest sites as it regulates 100% mining of the remains of amber on the damaged lands.
3200 hectares of the damaged lands of forest fund of Ukraine are under regulation of this project
Duration of the project is 5 years.
Implementation of the pilot project was assigned to two state enterprises with experience of developing amber deposits, namely SE "Burshtyn of Ukraine" and SE "Ukrburshtyn".
These two enterprises are granted the right to select the plots for re-cultivation. According to the resolution, land plots are provided without an auction. Further, the state enterprises have the right to make contracts with private companies that will carry out amber mining and re-cultivation.
It is clearly stated in the resolution that in the course of exploratory development of amber on the plots that were damaged as a result of illegal amber mining the project implementers should ensure compliance with the requirements for geological studying of subsoils and 100 percent mining of found amber determined by the legal acts.
The State Agency of Forest Resources of Ukraine approved the list of 2046 land plots that should be re-cultivated by the order No. 17 of 21.01.2017.
Currently, implementers of the pilot project started selection of plots and preparation of project documentation.
The company «Sun-Craft Centre» LLC, which is the first and the only private company engaged in industrial amber mining at the “Volodymyrets-Skhidnyi” deposit, developed and tested the methodology for re-cultivation of lands destroyed by open cut amber mining. The first batch of waste amber was re-cultivated in spring of 2017.